Although the word Hypnotism was not coined until 1843, its practice, in one form or another, is as old as human tradition. Ancient civilisations have left records demonstrating an extensive knowledge of its uses and effects, and the witch doctors and clever-men of primitive races owe much of their power and influence to its employment. It has played an important part in the ritual and ceremony of many religions and is the principle behind miraculous healing, sacred sleep, soothsaying, prophecy, and divination.

The yogis and fakirs of the East, like the Persian Magi of thousands of years ago, place themselves in self-induced trances by fixation of the gaze. In parts of India the name of Jar-Phoonk, from the Hindustani Jarna, to stroke, and phoonka, to breathe, is used to describe hypnotic methods, which have been known to these people from time immemorial. The Egyptian Ebers papyrus, dating from 1500B.C., describes the ‘laying on of hands’ in the treatment of disease, and a bas-relief from an ancient tomb at Thebes illustrates a priest in the act of inducing hypnosis. The Hebrew and Christian Scriptures contain many references to phenomena akin to that of hypnotism, and it would seem to have been a common practice in the temples of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Hebrews. There is evidence that its therapeutic uses were well known to the Romans, and Aesculapius recorded that he could throw patients into a long and refreshing sleep by strokes of the hand and thus subdue the insane and relieve their suffering.

Hippocrates, the ‘father’ of medicine, is reported by Tacitus to have said: ‘It hath oft appeared, while I have been soothing my patient, as if there were some strange property in my hands to pull and draw away from the afflicted parts aches and diverse impurities, by laying my hand upon the place, and by extending my fingers towards it. It is thus known to the learned that health may be impressed on the sick by certain movements and by contact, just as some diseases may be communicated from one to another.’

The accounts of the miracles performed by Christ are more acceptable if viewed as hypnotic phenomena, and so are the cures and exorcisms, ecstasies and stigmata, and mystical experiences of the saints. Avicenna, an outstanding physician and thinker of the tenth century, considered that the mind of man could exert an influence not only on his own body, but on the bodies of others, sometimes even at great distances. He also believed that this power could be used to cause illness as well as to cure it. Whatever you want to change clinical hypnosis and hypnotherapy can help.

Rick Collingwood – Australia’s Premiere Clinical Hypnotist and Hypnosis Trainer.

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